I got an e-mail last week from Henry Cates at the Why Homeschool Blog. It seems that this week will be the 5th anniversary for the Carnival of Homeschooling!
So for this special occasion, I thought it might be fun to go back and look at where my kids were 5 years ago, and where are they today!
1. Calvin: Five years ago Calvin was swimming on the local high school swim team after a highly public and political battle with the school board to allow him on the team! He was struggling to get through the academics at the local public Digital Academy. He also managed to be the first kid kicked out of our homeschool-co op for being a "smart *ss." He was still struggling with reading and I was unsure whether he would ever be able to take classwork outside of high school. He was however, listening to lots and lots of books on tape and enjoying them.
Now he is working 40+ hours a week as an EMT-Basic, responding to calls, comforting the hurt and the sick and even helping to save lives! He works three days a week for 12 or more hours and has a 70 minute commute, give or take. He is also planning to continue his paramedic education. To my surprise and delight, Calvin is now reading for pleasure - all the time! He has even been known to stop into the book store to have a book to read during down times at work. Calvin is the perfect example of a late bloomer! I never thought he would be able to read for pleasure but he does!
Sam was on a baking binge - he took a cake decorating class and was making all the cupcakes, cookies and cakes our household ever needed! He was working with my mother every day on math, English and especially history. He was taking piano lessons and art lessons at the community center. Once a week we were making the trek to our homeschool co-op so that he could take a writing class. Sam managed to be the second kid to get kicked out of our homeschool co-op.
Sam is now a high school senior. He still takes piano and plays the organ, but his real love is guitar. He taught himself for a while but has been taking lessons for the last couple of years. That is his real passion. For the last three years or so his education has been my sole responsibility. He is studying pre-Calculous with a tutor and is also a College Plus student.
We really did a lot at the community center! Five years ago the center had the medieval feast and Gabe was the bishop! He reluctantly studied the piano and I was just beginning to see his problems with math and reading.
Gabe begged me to let him stop piano lessons and take up the drums. I did so reluctantly and I am so glad that I did. Gabe took to percussion like a fish to water! He is just really gifted at it. I also had Gabe start singing with the Parish Choir when his voice changed and that has been very good for him as well. So now he plays percussion and does back up vocals with the rock band he and Sam started. Gabe reads for pleasure which is great, but he still struggles with pre-Algebra.
Noah was enjoying Saxon Math 2 and the Pathway Readers. He wasn't taking piano yet but he was enjoying art lessons at the community center. That community center has closed its art classes due to the recession.
Noah remains a sensitive and determined young man. He is my only child to enjoy both English and math! He is also hoping to be very competitive during cross country next season and to advance in his piano playing.
Izzy was taking ballet classes at the community center. She was learning to read with
100 Easy Lessons and was starting Saxon Math.
Izzy struggles with all of her school work but does it good naturedly. She is very gifted with art and I will be teaching her to sew this year. I think anything with art and design will be very good for her.
6. Rosie was my precious little baby girl who was enjoying a love fest with the entire family! She was only 6 months old.
Today she is a kindergartner although I haven't really been giving her enough of my attention. She loves to draw, sing, play, run and be on the computer!
Here are the top 10 things I have learned in the past five years.
1. Today's problems won't seem as big five years from now.
2. Still it's a good idea to catch little learning problems when they're still little.
3. Don't give up on your kids! My first son had a reading breakthrough after the age of 20!
4. I think the trick for my oldest son was having him fall in love with stories and hearing books on tape.
5. If your child wants to try something, let them try it. They'll excel at something if they're passionate about it.
6. It's okay to let kids quit something after a time to. Izzy quit ballet and Gabe quit the piano and they have never looked back. Other interests filled the gap.
7. Just because every homeschooler is doing it doesn't mean it will be good for you. I spent a lot of money on the latest text book or gimmick that others in my support group were using because it was supposed to be so great! I really messed up sending them to that co-op which simply was not a good fit for our family and was very overpriced.
8. Boys need exercise to burn off some of that testosterone toxicity. Running, swimming and soccer have been great for us.
9. It's important to teach our homeschooled kids how to take tests. But testing poorly isn't the end of the world. Getting into college and the job world is really a big game. Good grades, good tests and into a good college is one way to play it - but there are others just as valid and maybe even better depending on the student.
10. Kids will learn your Christian values when they see them day in and day out. Not saying kids in school miss out on that, but I think it's easier when they aren't getting crossed signals.